As a parent, being able to financially support your children through their higher education is a privilege that not everyone can afford—and even then, many still try.
But when a child starts earning more than their struggling parents, is it cruel to withdraw that promised financial support?
Redditor AdAlarmed7261 recently clashed with their daughter over this issue, so they turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if they were in the wrong.
“AITA for refusing to pay my daughter’s college tuition after learning that she makes $5k/month on OnlyFans?”
The original poster (OP) explained their daughter’s recent foray into the adults-only site.
“My daughter, ‘Jess,’ is a current junior in college. We have always had a very open family dynamic and my two girls have had no problems telling me what’s on their mind because they know that I will support them no matter what.”
“Sometime during the quarantine in the summer, Jess started an OnlyFans. I was definitely a little worried as I’m not familiar with the platform and it seemed a little dangerous to me, but I trusted that she knew what she was doing as she’s always been a smart girl.”
Their daughter’s popularity on OnlyFans came with some nice monetary results.
“This winter break, Jess came home from college and excitedly told me that she’s become quite popular on the site. She told me that she’s built a huge following and is making a couple thousand each month.”
“I was still a little wary about the whole thing, but was happy for her nonetheless. She kept me updated on her earnings throughout the last couple months and they’ve been climbing steadily.”
“Now she makes >$5,000 each month and she says she’s expected to start earning even more. Jess has also been smart about the money and has been saving it up for her dream apartment after college.”
But that’s where the dilemma came in for the OP.
“Now here comes the issue and the hard decision on my part. This September, my husband lost his job due to [the pandemic] and has been out of work since.”
“Although we’ve always been able to manage, this has been putting a large dent in our savings. Despite this, we’ve never taken money out of Jess’s college fund as we promised her we’d take care of it when she was younger.”
So they came up with a what they thought was a fair solution.
“Her cost of attendance is around $30k/year so we have about $45k left to pay. My husband and I considered the circumstances and ultimately we decided that the best solution would be to pay for Jess’s upcoming semester and have her take care of her tuition for her senior year.”
“That way, we can have a bit more cushion in the upcoming year to stay afloat while my husband looks for work.”
But the OP’s daughter felt betrayed.
“We brought this up to Jess and laid out all of our reasons, but she was extremely upset and felt that we broke our promise.”
“She said that we wouldn’t have been so quick to jump on this idea if she’d made her money through other, more ‘hardworking’ means and that she should’ve never told me her earnings. Jess is no longer speaking with us.”
“Are we the a**holes for doing this?”
The OP later edited their post to clarify just how dire their financial truly is.
“Edit: It seems that I may have painted our financial situation as more comfortable than the actual reality. We are struggling to stay afloat.”
“We’ve cut our spending significantly, but at this rate, we could be behind on mortgage payments very soon and lose our home. Additionally, my husband has elected not to undergo an expensive medical procedure in order to not use up our savings any further.”
“This entire time, both of us have sacrificed an incredible amount so that Jess can go through college worry-free.”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most supported the OP’s decision, particularly given the circumstances.
“If she is making 5k per month, then she is an adult enough to pay for her education. This is a different time.”
“You are hurting financially and she is making about 60k per year. She can be responsible and take care of her education.”
“You aren’t judging her, you are making a decision based upon financial need and she should understand that. NTA.”—raerae6672
“NTA. You had a life changing event (the loss of your husband’s job). Other students in her position would take students loans.”
“She’s lucky that she has an income. She’s upset and that’s understandable. You’re upset too because I’m sure this is not what you would prefer to do as a parent.”
“Sadly, we are in the middle of a world crisis that resulted in the loss of your husband’s job. It’s more important than ever to have a cushion now.”—poj_poj_1999
“NTA – her father has been out of work for 5 months while she makes 5 grand a month and doesn’t offer to pay her own tuition? Wow. Very sad she is not more empathetic to your current situation.”—alipalip65
The OP commented to add that their financial situation was also impacting their other daughter’s education expenses, although she was more understanding.
“I agree with your position. My husband and I never anticipated that our 2020 would turn out the way it did. It’s truly horrible what happened and I’m sorry to everyone who has been negatively impacted.”
“My eldest daughter, who is currently in her second year of medical school, has had to take out a significant amount of student loans. We were originally paying a portion of her tuition, but she insisted that we stop after the pandemic started.”
Someone suggested the older daughter talk to the younger one.
“Dang, maybe have her talk to your younger one. If she had been in this situation before then she could probably explain.”—Nagathan
And the OP thought that sounded like a good idea.
“That’s a great idea. Jess and her older sister aren’t the closest, but I think it may be helpful as she does admire her sister. I’ll reach out.”
One Redditor was confused why the OP’s daughter was even continuing with college at all.
“If she’s making 5k a month, why does she even need a degree?”
“I have two and have never earned anywhere close to 60k a year. Clearly I’ve made some poor life choices.”—vrcraftauthor
But they were quickly schooled.
“She may not want to be doing sex work for the rest of her career.”—snarkisms
“Also you can’t rely on sex work as a lifelong career.”—SpriggitySprite
“I’m sorry, but this has to be the most short-sighted comment practically ever.”
“Sure, she’s making 5k a month right now, but surely you’re not expecting that to last, are you? Investing in an education for the future right now is ideal.”
“Like, honestly! Did you even think this through? I’m so confused.”—Trekkerterrorist
A few Redditors, however, were a bit more sympathetic to all involved parties.
“This scenario is playing out all over the world thousands of times a day. People made plans, promises, agreements, with the best of intentions.”
“Then [the virus] comes along, and makes it impossible for people to honor those agreements. People are losing their homes, their jobs, their businesses.”
“I’m glad to see that both you and your daughter are doing well enough that the impact [the pandemic] is having on your family will be more manageable than for most.”
“You have to do what you have to do, and it sucks, but you aren’t an a**hole for doing it, and she isn’t an a**hole for being pissed about it. This is just the new reality we all have to deal with.”
“This is the best answer.”
“She’s right to be upset but given the circumstances you have to do it. It sucks so much and I hope things get better for you soon.”—SunkenQueen
“I agree with NAH. If I was OP, I wouldn’t have directly tied the discussion to the daughter making enough money to pay for school.”
“I would have made it more about OP’s financial situation (which was probably edited/added after your comment was made).”
“Like, sorry but we’re on the verge of having trouble paying the mortgage and we can’t afford to keep paying for school. We’re hoping that with your OnlyFans income and loans this won’t affect your graduation, etc.”—akatherder
Hopefully the OP’s daughter will come to the realization that her parents desperately need her help to protect them from financial ruin, and can come to understand that circumstances sometimes change and promises need to be broken.
If not, she may need to consider enrolling in empathy 101 next semester.